Hear that? Because so many local organizations and institutions go all out planning them for this slow time of year, winter is a great time to attend lectures. There's politics, science, art, community relations, and cooking. Get a ticket and go learn something.
The RochesterRegionalCommunityDesignCenter will this year hold its first lecture series, titled "Reshaping Rochester!Planning for the Public Realm." All the lectures explore urban renewal --- with a focus on city and town centers --- and bring experts from across the country to speak. The lectures take place in venues throughout the city, January 11, February 1, March 8, March 22, April 11, and May 17. 271-0520; www.rrcdc.org.
The Friends of the Rochester Public Library's Thursday Thinkers series will be held Thursday evenings January 12 to March 2. The theme is Rochester 2006: Challenges and Opportunities and will bring local politicians, administrators, and community leaders together to talk about the future of the city. Central Library, 115 South Avenue, 428-8350
The Famous Cookbook Author of 2006 is Andrea Immer, author of Everyday Dining with Wine and host of Simply Wine with Andrea Immer. She will speak on January 15 at the NazarethCollegeArtsCenter. 389-2170, www.wilsoncommencementpark.org
On January 18, the RochesterMuseum and ScienceCenter will bring lion researcher Meggan Craft for its Distinguished Scholars Lecture series. Craft will talk about her work monitoring lions from Serengeti prides. www.rmsc.org
A new speaking series organized by Rochester Against the War, called The Reality of War, is where you can hear from people directly affected by the war in Iraq. The series begins on January 19 with Brian Conley, a journalist who has reported from Iraq and Jordan. For information, email march12RAWC@yahoo.com or call 442-3383
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, UR has invited Martin Luther King III to speak on January 27. King has continued his father's work in civil rights and is president of the KingCenter in Atlanta. 275-0651
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, who won this year's Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize at the University of Rochester, will read from her winning --- and first --- book, Madeleine Is Sleeping on February 2. www.rochester.edu/college/wst/, 275-8318.
Tavis Smiley will make a Western New York stop for the University at Buffalo's Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration on February 3. Smiley is a political commentator, activist for black Americans, and host of the first nationally broadcast talk show on black issues. www.ubcfa.org
There are two lecture series at local arts centers. Steve Carpenter Gallery and Art Studio has the Monday Evening Creative Arts Lecture Series with musician Dennis Monroe on February 6, RCB's Jamie Leverett on March 6, naturalist author Mark W. Holdren on April 3, and winemaker MortenHalgren on May 1. 758-1410, www.stevecarpenterstudio.com. The Community Darkroom at the GeneseeCenter for the Arts & Education continues its Meet the Photographer series Monday evenings, January 23 and 30, February 6, 13, and 20. 271-5920, www.geneseearts.org.
The Susan B. Anthony House has a birthday lunch each year in honor of the suffragist pioneer. This year Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be the keynote speaker. The luncheon is February 14. 279-7490
Rochester Arts and Lectures series is sold out, but you may be able to get standing-room tickets to hear Audrey Niffenegger --- author of the strange and pleasing The Time Traveler's Wife --- on March 16 or Aaron Lansky --- preserver of Yiddish books --- on April 6. Both lectures are at DowntownUnitedChurch. 546-8658, www.artsandlectures.org
Writers and Books announced its selection for If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.... It's Name all the Animals by local native --- and Mercy girl --- Alison Smith, who you'll have a chance to see when she comes back to town March 29 to April 1 for her residency. www.wab.org